“I tried to tell coach Mac to just tape it up and keep practicing because I heard someone saying ‘Get him to the hospital for x-rays right away,’” C.J. Worton said. “And my first instinct was to tape it up and keep practicing because I definitely don’t want to go back there.”
Worton said that throughout his rehab, his older brother, J.J. Worton, wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, constantly encouraged him. J.J. himself knew all about rehabbing as he attempted to come back to football after a torn ACL while at UCF.
“Him just really staying on me made me not relax and keep going through my rehab. Pushing me like that I think ultimately made me get back quicker,” C.J. Worton said.
When Worton was asked if he was “100%,” he absolutely did not hesitate to make it clear that he was back and ready to roll. At this point, his biggest concern is getting back into the mix of the offense.
“You miss four weeks and the offense starts to fill in those pieces where you were,” Worton said. “You get back out there and try to work your way back in. You start making plays, start catching back on, and that’s when you click. The more I can do that the more I can put myself in good places and make plays in practice, the more it’ll show in the game.”
After weeks of rehab, Worton was able to get out on the field against Kentucky to prove himself. With a rocky start, Worton’s first throw to him was tipped and intercepted.
“All of the guys on the sideline are like ‘Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t the best throw but we’ve seen you make catches like that before,’” Worton said. “Then they told me they had my back. They went and held them to a 3-and-out and they missed a field goal. So I just took a deep breath and was like ‘Alright it’s time to get back to work.’”
Worton had a lot of confidence going back in with his new quarterback Luke Del Rio. He went back in and got a key first down and two catches for 19 yards. Many Gator fans are excited to see a fresh new quarterback that threw for 320 yards, but Worton said that none of Del Rio’s success is surprising to him.
“I’ve seen him make these throws and he’s real patient and real smart with the ball,” Worton said. “He does a really good job at taking control and setting the mood for us. Keeping us upbeat when we need to be and focused when we need to be.”
With Callaway possibly returning soon and freshman Freddie Swain quickly putting points on the board, Worton knows there’s some healthy competition where he needs to prove himself.
“We just have a lot of explosive guys there,“ Worton said.